Bigoli, The Latest Hot New Pasta

Bigoli is actually not the latest hot new pasta as Venetians have known of it for centuries. However, in America, where food fads are driven by newness rather than tradition you’ll be hearing more about it. Bigoli in salsa, an old and beloved Venetian preparation made on Good Friday. A Venetian would know that bigoli […]

Czech Out Peas and Barley!

Czech it out is a silly expression we used as college students on our first visit to Czechoslovakia.  I couldn’t resist the title. Seriously, one should check out Czech food. Czech food is not something I cook very often although I like Czech food. Part of the reason for that is there are very few […]

Hasu – A Spicy Soup of the Algerian Jews

Bread bakers set aside a portion of yeasted dough to act as a starter for the next batch of bread. This starter is called a sponge, poolish, levain de boulanger in French, and biga in Italian. But in this medieval soup of the Jews of North Africa it is the foundation to a soup. The […]

Mantı, The Turkish and Armenian Delicacy Everyone Should Make

The roots of everyday Turkish cuisine, as opposed to the court cuisine, are found in the Turkic tribes of the Central Asia and perhaps the pre-existing Greek inhabitants of Anatolia.  As the Turkish food authority Nevin Halıcı suggests, a study of the food habits of contemporary Kazan Turks and Tatars might indicate a close relationship […]

A Provençal Stuffed Cabbage for A Cold Day

Sou fassum, the Provençal name, is known in French as chou farci à la Niçoise. It is a specialty of the region around Grasse. Traditionally, the stuffed cabbage leaves are placed in a net made of thick threads called a fassumier that is then lowered into a good chicken broth to be cooked. Although cabbage […]

Meatballs and Rice in a Middle Eastern Way

This preparation popular in Lebanon and Syria was not always so. In the eighteenth century Damacenes, like all Syrians, preferred wheat and switched to rice and other grains only when wheat became too expensive or was in short supply. But rice was a relatively pricey import from Egypt and was considered a luxury and never […]

Stew as the Wife of the Cordoban Farmer Would Make It

This delicious winter stew from Córdoba in Andalusia is called olla cortijera de Córdoba in Spanish and is long simmered cabbage and chickpea stew. Andalusians are quite fond of cumin as a spice. The plant was brought to Spain from North Africa and entered the cuisine. The famous Spanish Arab agronomist Ibn al-‘Awwam, who flourished […]

Rib-sticking Whole Wheat Pasta for Winter

Winters were much colder when I lived in New England and rib-sticking meals like this pasta dish were meals often made. In southern California it never really gets cold enough to want something rib-sticking, but I love this preparation anyway even for nostalgia’s sake. This preparation was originally inspired by the rib-sticking cooking of the […]

Andalusia’s Dried Bean Soup for A Winter Weekend

A winter weekend soup that can more or less be an entire meal is a dried bean soup from Andalusia. Dried beans are popular everywhere in the Mediterranean.  They also have a flavor a tad different than the fresh bean, which means they are ideal in earthy and deeply flavorful soups such as this one […]

Cold Weather January Soup Is A Lentil Bulgur Soup from Turkey

Winter is a time for soups. This soup is one I came across during a particularly cold April in Turkey. In Turkey, soups are favorite preparations during the winter.  One forgets how cold it gets in the Mediterranean and these soul-satisfying soups are quite perfect for warming up and feeling good about exorcising that piercing […]

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